In ‘Harry: Life, Loss, and Love’, author Kate Nicholl explains Harry and Meghan hid from the press when news of their relationship broke by staying with her close friends Ben and Jessica Mulroney. The group instantly hit it off.
“I actually think that might have been the moment Meghan really fell for Harry. He got to know the Mulroneys quite well, and they liked Harry from the beginning,” a source interviewed in the book says.
So for us non-royals, how important is it that our friends like our partners? Can it really make or break a blossoming romance?
According to Relate relationships counsellor Gurpreet Singh, it’s “nearly always beneficial” when your friends and partner like each other.
“When your friends click with your partner it can reassure you you’re with the right person,” he tells HuffPost UK. “It may be that your friends and your partner represent different sides of you and won’t get on. This can create tension in your relationships and can make social gatherings awkward. In some cases, friends may even put pressure on you to find a new partner.”
Often, if we think we’re falling for someone, we can’t fathom why friends won’t also think they’re the best thing since sliced bread. But according to Singh, if friends don’t seem to warm to a new partner instantly, their reservations might be because they are protective and want you to be happy.
“Often friends think they know what’s best for you and if your partner doesn’t fit with that ideal they may not approve,” he says. “It’s important to remember that friends usually have a subjective opinion which is driven by their own desires and judgments. It’s also possible that your friends saw you with someone very different to who you are with now.”
The good news is if your friends have’t clicked with your partner naturally, Singh says there are a few steps you can take to help things along the way.
Firstly, he says it’s important not to leave your friends or your partner behind. If you have a feeling friends don’t like your partner, then addressing it head on is the best thing to do.
“Don’t assume that everyone will understand and get along all by themselves. You can’t control their relationship, but you can help them to be civil to each other,” he says. “Talk to your friends openly and honestly and let them know how important your partner is to you. Say you like this person and want to have the opportunity to explore the relationship without pressure from your friends.”
Having said this, Singh says you should consider the fact that “friends can sometimes see what you can’t”.
“Listen to what they have to say about your partner. If this raises any alarm bells you may want to speak to somebody objective such as a counsellor who can help you to decide if the relationship is right for you,” he says. “It’s important to listen to your friends’ opinions but it’s equally important to not come under pressure from them.”
If all else fails, organising a fun activity your new partner and your mates may enjoy can be a great way to break the ice. Nerves can sometimes mean people don’t make the best first impressions and meeting a big group of people can be intimidating at the best of times, especially if you feel your love life might be hanging in the balance. Give your mates and new date time to gel and don’t panic if they’re not BFFs from day one.